I wanted to make a delicious birthday cake for the longsuffering man that chooses to live with me – which, believe me is not much fun for him at the moment as I’m incredibly tired and moody, waddling around (pregnant) and doing a lot of COMPLAINING. The other day I cried because of about 28 different things. They were ALL very important. Oh dear.
Anyway…cake makes everything better, doesn’t it? As you can see, my motives weren’t entirely selfless. I wasn’t sure about doing a great big lump of sponge smothered in buttercream during the heatwave we’re having in London. I thought N might like summat a bit fresher and less likely to greasily melt everywhere. Our blackberry brambles in the garden have literally just gone beserk, heaving with fruit, so I thought about making an almondy cake and putting some berries in it. I think almonds are essential in any fruity cake, they add a lovely mellow flavour and their texture ensures that the sponge is never dry. You could also use raspberries, blueberries – any kind of berry I reckon.
If you’re out and about picking blackberries, remember to grab them above the height that a dog or fox can wee – you don’t want the low-hanging ones. And always give them a good old rinse as they can be a bit SPIDERY. Bleurrrrgh!
I think the result wasn’t half bad – and the cake got eaten very quickly. Very nice with a blob of cream or creme fraiche on the side. It was great for breakfast, as that’s the time of day we ate it!
Come HITHER and eat me:
Serves 6 – 8
You will need:
125g slightly softened butter (I always use organic salted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (this is a really really nice Fairtrade one by Ndali that I have just discovered! Amazing flavour.)
120g golden caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange or lemon
3 large organic eggs
150 g plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
Pinch of salt
50g ground almonds
A couple of handfuls blackberries to sprinkle on top
Flaked almonds – a handful
Pre-heat your oven to 180C and pre-line a 23cm cake tin. (I don’t think it would matter too much if your cake tin was smaller – the cake would just rise a bit higher, but keep an eye on the baking time).
Using an electric whisk (or a hand one) beat together the butter, vanilla extract, sugar, orange/lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Separate the eggs and mix the yolks into the cake batter one at a time, until well incorporated.
Add the flour, baking powder and ground almonds to the mixture, whiz together.
Clean your whisk beaters, get a spotlessly clean bowl (metal is good if you have it) and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Then gently fold them into the cake batter using a large spoon – take care not to squash everything around too much as you’ll lose the air in the whites.
Tip the mixture into your lined tin and bake for 30 – 45 minutes, until the top is lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool down on a rack before peeling the greaseproof paper off it.
The unbaked cake batter:
Looks DELICIOUS! Not really sure about the availability of blackberries here in Melbourne. Had better start scoping now… x
If anyone can hunt down blackberries down under, it’s you Pip!
I am so going to make that. I have finally moved to up near you and the blackberries in our new garden are amazing. Will have to make sure I can get to the top branches as my kids have decimated the lower ones.
We’re so lucky to have blackberries on tap, huh? Hope your kids don’t work out how to use ladders to get to the higher up ones!